The government of President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to Nigerians not to be deceived by those looking forward to personal gains by sponsoring acts of violence in Nigeria.
The presidency noted that the government is on top of the situation and all criminals responsible for insecurity in Nigeria regardless of whatever name they are called will be brought to book.
Specifically, on the Plateau killings, the statement from the presidency while commiserating with the victims, urged Nigerians to embrace peace.
The presidency made the submission in a statement on Sunday signed by the senior special assistant to the President on media and publicity, Garba Shehu.
According to the statement, those behind the violent attacks in different parts of the country are trying to give ethnic, religious and other forms of colouration to their criminal acts just to deceive members of the public and gain sympathy both locally and internationally.
It however added that the government can see through their veil and is working on addressing the root causes of the problems with a view to providing lasting solutions.
The statement reads: “The Presidency wishes to assure all citizens that as a government, the administration is on top of events and is moving ahead with force to crush the perpetrators of the recent incidents of unrest in Plateau State.
But to achieve success, our communities must unite against these horrific attacks. Retributive violence is not the answer.
While these troubled communities are being reinforced with security personnel, our religious, traditional and other community leaders must not allow the use of their spaces for the propagation of violence and incitement to violence.
“Attempts to simplify the reasons into a basic narrative may help raise donor-dollars for international NGOs, fill pages of overseas newspapers, and burnish foreign politicians’ faith credentials; but this does not increase understanding, nor offer solutions. If anything, simplistic theorizing and finger-pointing make the situation worse.”
“It is important both for Nigerians and the international community to appreciate that there are a multitude of factors attendant to these troubles.”
It observed that the crimes are not related to religious violence at all as the perpetrators would have wanted the public to believe, neither is it about disagreements between herdsmen and farmers.
“There is the Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorism, as well as the spate of kidnappings for ransom, transformed by some misinformed global media into a Muslim-on-Christian threat. Yet, in reality, there are no religious connotations at all when the primary purpose of these acts is to extract money.”
“Then the herder-farmer clashes. While international voices and some Nigerian politicians who seek personal gain from division declare this a matter of religion, for those involved, it is almost entirely a matter of access to water and land. Herders have moved their cattle into contact with farmers for millennia. But, increasingly, due to population pressure, escalating aridity of northern states, and climate change, they are forced to travel further south to find grazing lands.”
“Then, further afield in the South-east, IPOB are not struggling for freedom when they attack police stations and property, but rather committing acts of terrorism in order to steal money. IPOB is not defending Christians – as their highly-paid foreign lobbyists claim – when almost every citizen of those states they terrorize is uniformly Christian. Yet mistakenly, and because the lobbyists for IPOB have duped them, some misguided foreign media and politicians believe so,” it added.
The presidency then appealed to Nigerians to put national interest first and join hands with the government to fight the criminals.
“As for Nigerians, what we need is to come together. And we must do this firstly and for the most part by our own hands, by casting asunder those who seek to divide us for their own nefarious financial and political gain.”